Problems with Aberdare Canal

Andrew Morgan Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council lets explain just what happened at the meeting you reference in RCTC Twitter response.


Your legal department informed me about a meeting that an additional meeting was required because the officer who attended the first meeting had sadly passed away. Kevin Oates and myself attended the first meeting held on 10 October 2014; John C. Spanswick (JS) Green Spaces Manager for RCTC (who as you are aware is also a Labour councilor for Bridgend CouncilCapita Glamorgan Consultancy and board member for Valleys to Coast Housing Ltd) was unable to attend that meeting because of other commitments.


The second meeting you reference held at 10 AM 12 October 2015 was called because no one at RCTC knew what was discussed at the first meeting the previous year.


Gareth Henson Countryside Manager RCTC arraigned the meeting and attended with 2 RCTC Rangers an outside sub contractor and 15 minutes later John C. Spanswick Green Spaces Manager making 5 people representing RCTC.


A local resident who also attended the previous meeting with Kevin and myself explained to the 5 what was discussed and what proposed by the RCTC officer at the previous meeting. John C. Spanswick Green Spaces Manager looked vacant at what was proposed clearly showing his lack of experience.


The sub contractor explained to JS that the Aberdare Canal bed could be cleaned out with a machine fitted with a grading bucket, as he explained he had done this type of work for RCTC at Barry Sidings Country Park. We explained to JS and others who attended the meeting that the officer previously said all trees that had grown in the canal and canal bank were to be removed. It was explained that fences were to be replaced to prevent livestock entering the canal and breaking up the canal bank where required, the officer was going to contact adjoining landowners who were responsible.


We then came to the breach in the canal bank that RCTC originated, it was explained what was done was illegal preventing free passage to a public right of way when floodwater prevent access. It was also explained that by RCTC diverting floodwater at this point intensifies floodwater reaching the main Cynon Valley railway Line, as it has no watercourse to follow.


We moved on to where the Nant-Y-Gaugam enters the Aberdare Canal where as the photograph shows you have had a contractor clean out a small section of the canal and dump it on the canal bank. As you explain on Twitter “It’s worked well in prev years”. I attempted to explain to JS what was required to prevent the earth from the river and canal bank at this point from being eroded away again he looked vacant and did not understand but the sub contractor did. I explained how by installing just a few Gabion baskets would prevent canal and riverbank erosion and would be more cost effective in the long term.


We then looked at the culvert; a culvert not fit for purpose (that’s why RCTC made a breach in the Aberdare Canal wall to prevent flooding on the Cwmbach Road) the culvert is not on RCTC list of culverts for Cwmbach and not a priority as far as RCTC are concerned. It was established at the last meeting that the culvert runs through land not owned by RCTC.

Riparian owners rights & responsibilities,

Case law shows that it is not only necessary to ensure that any culvert is designed and constructed correctly but also that it is continuously maintained to ensure that it operates effectively, even if the riparian owners did not construct the culvert but simply owned land on which a culvert has been constructed.


JS explained he would look at the landownership and we proceeded to walk the PROW over the private land following the watercourse to the main Cynon Valley railway Line.

We crossed the railway line entered Tirfounder-Fields when the local resident explained how the river silt had built up over 8ft throughout a period of time and that contributed to the constant flooding of the PROW from Aberaman to Cwmbach.


At this point John C. Spanswick Green Spaces Manager for RCTC said he would have to consult with other departments within RCTC, as there was more to be done than his department alone was not capable of doing and there’s the problem of funding it all, the meeting ended.


John C. Spanswick also pointed out that the water pumps and adjoining French drains that service the PROW and part of the National Cycle Route next to the Ynys Fields is now the responsibility of RCTC Highways Department.


Now I have to ask the question John C. Spanswick Green Spaces Manager as explained previous is also a Labour councilor for Bridgend Council and a board member for Valleys to Coast Housing Ltd. You are making managers redundant within RCTC but you employ a manager who has employment with 2 other organizations, is this a case of looking after your Labour colleague jobs for the boys at RCTC?

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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